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What is failure to progress in labor?

A woman who is in labor should slowly progress toward the point at which she will deliver the baby. When that progress is extremely slow or if the woman has been in labor past a certain number of hours, she might be classified as failing to progress. Understanding some basic points about failure to progress might help women who are in that position to understand more about what is going on.

At what point is failure to progress considered?

When a first-time mother has been laboring for 20 hours or longer or when a woman who has given birth before has been laboring 14 hours or more, failure to progress might come up. Failure to progress can occur during the latent phase or the active phase of labor.

What can cause failure to progress?

Failure to progress can be caused by a variety of conditions. If a baby is too large, labor might stop. If the woman has a small pelvis, her labor might move slowly. Weak contractions, the baby's position, stress and medications can also cause labor to stop progressing in a normal manner.

What are the risks of failure to progress?

Failure to progress during the latent phase of labor often isn't associated with any complications except emotional draining. Failure to progress during the active phase of labor might lead to a Cesarean section delivery. Harm to the baby or the mother might occur, which is often the reason for a C-section.

A woman who is failing to progress during labor should be carefully monitored by the medical team. It is vital that the team takes the woman's health and the baby's health into account. If the woman or the baby is harmed because the medical team didn't act in an appropriate manner, seeking compensation might be the woman's next course of action.

Source: American Pregnancy Association, "Prolonged Labor: Failure To Progress," accessed Nov. 13, 2015

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